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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  April 12, 2012 2:00am-6:00am EDT

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families take a huge hit growth of the success stories. >> let's take it. >> that is better. are we use with authority as moderator for one more question. . .
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uby dee's acting career spanned more than 50 years and is included theater, radio, television and theaters.
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onstage, and ms. dee was the first black woman to play roles that the american shakespeare festival. although she has appeared in over 50 films, her life is not all been just that. she has long been active in a variety of movements. she along with other davis traveled to nigeria as goodwill ambassadors and eulogized malcolm x in 1965 and later his widow, betty shabazz in 1987. with the academy of arts and science silver circles award in 1994 coming dee and davis officially became national treasures when they received the national medal of arts in 1995. in 2000, they were present at the screen actors guild life achievement award. other inductees in the theater hall of fame as well as the naacp hall of fame. in the 2008 misty was awarded the best supporting actress for
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her role in the film, american gangster. she also received an academy award for this role. ms. dee is proud of her one-woman show, zora is by name about zora neale hurston. she stated, the kind of beauty i want most is the hard to get kind that comes from within, strength, courage, identity. [applause] >> sonia sanchez, poets, actors, scholars one of the most important act drift of the black rights movement and how the work on her chair in english. she was also at the forefront of the black studies movement and tout the first course in the country on black women. teaching the novel, "their eyes were watching god." she's the author verse 16 books. her most recent, morning haiku.
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ms. sanchez's extraordinary voices aren't heard the american book award, the langston hughes poetry award and she was a finalist for the national book critics circle award for does your house appliance? having lectured amid poetry to over 500 universities, colleges and organizations all over the country, sanchez and the world has established a reputation of the highly renowned voice in the 20th century. freedom sisters coming national tour exhibit from the smithsonian brings to life 20 african-american women from the last 200 years who have fought for equality for all americans. sister sonya is one of the 20 period in 2011 sanchez was tapped as the first poet laureate of philadelphia. she stated, irate to keep in contact with their ancestors and to spread truth to people. please join me welcome you to the green space chase, lucianne hurston, alice walker, ruby dee
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and sonia sanchez. [applause] [cheers and applause] good evening, everyone. so not going to scare everybody. i'm going to come off script and i'm going to say, i sit at the feet of the masters. [applause]
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i am lucianne hurston and i'm honored to join you here at the green space to take e3 conversation with three extraordinary women whose voices have ways to trails and created an indelible pattern in the fabric of our global tapestry. the green space at wnyc, and debbie akio exar is honoring the 75th anniversary of zora neale hurston, "their eyes were watching god." and tonight is the final installment of that series. let's begin with zora's rating. throughout this evening's conversation, you'll hear passages from sub one, selected and read by each of us. we begin with award-winning act
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dress, ruby dee, who takes us to the opening passages of the novel. >> yes, thank you, thank you. [applause] my goodness. this is from the introduction. ships at a distance have every man's wish on board for sunday, and end for a thursday so forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the watcher turns as isolated as it nation. the streams mark to death by time. that is the life of man. now women, forget all those things they don't want to remember. and remember of it and they don't want to forget. the dream is the truth. they act and do things
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accordingly. since the beginning of this was a woman and she had come back from burying the dead. not the dad is sick and ailing and defeat. she combat from this that and the bolded, the sudden end, dare eyes flung wide open in judgment. the people all saw her come because of the sun down. but the sun had left it for prints in the sky. it is the time for sitting on porches beside the road. it was time to hear things and talk. these feathers had been timeless, analysts, convenience is holiday loan, mules and brief
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had occupied their skins. but now, the sun and abbas denver can't come in this that the skins felt powerful and the humans became voices sound unless their things. they passed nations through their mouths. they sat in judgment. [applause] >> no one else could do it. thank you. mike and zora wrote this novel in seven weeks lunch at the college goal fieldwork in haiti. i found zora and the object of my house have 50 st. paul street in brooklyn, new york. and looking through an old book
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with frayed pages, i began to read, there is a watching god for the first time at age nine. and here is the passage that i found most inspiring for the multiple times that i have read "their eyes were watching god." it is about the power of a woman that plays with the man. ain't no use in getting all mad, jamie because i'm itching you ate no young gal no more. nobody in here and looking at you for no wide out a few. old as he lives. now, i ate no young gal no more, but i know old women either. i reckon i look my age, too. i am a woman every inch of me and they know it. that's a whole lot more you can
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say, you did at least around here and put out a lot of rack. that ain't nothing in a pitcher but voice. talk about me looking old, when you pull down your purchase, you look like the change of life. [laughter] great god from science and want to gasp, you really read the dozens tonight. what you don't say joe's challenge, hoping his ears have full-time. you heard here. there is a talented. i'd rather be shot by myself like most commiserated. then joe stark realized out the. then joe stark realized out the meaning and is in deep black like a flood. cheney had locked him out of the of heiresses cheney had locked him of his illusion of heiresses, that all men cherished his illusion of heiresses, that all men cherished, which was terrible. the thing that saul's daughter had done to david, that cheney
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had done worse. she had cast down his empty armor before a man and had last, we keep on laughing. when he buried his possessions hereafter, they would not consider the two together. they look with envy at their things and pitied him man that owns them. when he said in judgment, he would be the same. good for them that they might daze and ron and jim, wouldn't change places with him. for what can excuse a man in the eyes of other men for lack of strength? rackety behind 16 and 17 would giving him their merciless pity out of their eyes. father matt said something humble. there is nothing to do in life anymore. ambition was useless and the cold defeat of jamie makin all bad humbleness as corny and all, laughing at him and putting the
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town at the same. joe did not overthrow this, but he knew the feeling, so he struck jamie with all of this night and drove her from the store. [applause] >> i am going to ask each of you to share with us your relationship to zora neale hurston and this novel and the characters in particular, it jaymie halas, i'll start with you. he said there's no book more important to me than this on for appearing to their eyes. it was august, 1973. and you journey through fort pearce, florida in search of florida's unmarked grave and you marked it with a headstone that bad, genius at this.
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[applause] let's start with website used that moment. >> to back up a bit, i was writing a story myself that needed to do information banality anthropologists i came across were hideously racist and painfully racist. and i felt very strongly that all of iraq has to be underpinned by facts and real things as much as we can manage that. and so i kept looking and i find myself zora's name in a foot note in the most racist of the anthropologists. and i started looking for her because the story i needed to tell was based on a story that my own mother had told us about being in the depression and being hungry and eating food and
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going to the commissary to ask for food. but my mother that same week had received a shipment of clothes from relatives in the north and relatives in the north can't even though the north was and what they thought of it is still at maser clerking. so so they sent her some really nice clothes and they put them on. my mother was very beautiful. and so she put on his clothes. she went to ask for food and the white woman said how dare you come here asking for anything looking better than me. now mayweather would've looked better than her anyway, but she really, you know -- so i thought the humiliation at that moment for my mother. and i needed a story to tell since i am not violent. many in my family are violent, but i don't seem to have that gene. so i have a created jean and i
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decided to read a story that would use voodoo, which people know about, to take care of this woman. but it had to be authentic. it had to be the real deal. so i found zora and i found exactly how you do this and i put it in the story. and then from that, i went on to read "their eyes were watching god," fell in love with it, started teaching with it, talking about it. and so, when i found out that she was buried somewhere and nobody knew quite rare and she had an ending that wasn't so good, i was embarrassed. i could fathom that someone who had given us so much beauty could be left on it knowledge and that was the reason i took that journey.
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the story there was that what was someone who lived in florida, got to the third country and cemetery of the heavenly rest in there at these very tawdry. said will charlotte, are you going to go with me cry if she was kind of hanging close to the car. and she said well know. i said well why not quite she said i'm from florida. i know it's a dare. so i had to get back there really fast because my daughter was small. so i started calling your aunt and i called her and i just started walking towards the middle of this plays in a really pretty much fell into her grave. and so that was that. [applause]
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>> ms. ruby. you had a one-woman show entitled zora is my name. you also did the audio recording for "their eyes were watching god" that the national endowment for the arts. and played the part of many who also presents "their eyes were watching god" television special. you have many connections to this book as well. will you share this place some of them. >> where to begin. first of all, thank you, alice, for finding that grave because what a gift to sl. i didn't know that i've met zora. i said norad because i have a daughter named nora. i wanted to name my daughter nor i zora, so i call it the nearest thing i could because i felt i
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should get permission or something. i don't know. do i mean to change it to zora like i did when you were born? but i didn't know that i had met zora when i was very young. i don't know at the library i won some prizes in a poetry contest. anyway, my mother kept a scrapbook of all the things that we did and my mother was one of those who started writing when i could hold a pen and pencil. so one day when i was quite older, she gave me this book to go through because i hadn't really looked at it. and there she showed me an article where i had met zora and the library where i had gotten
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this award. but i didn't know that i had matter. so i just wish i could have -- you know, i wish i had been aware at that time that i was needing trent three because she's been one of the most important women in my life. i dream about trent three, i adapted some of the work for a television show that i did for great performances on pbs. so everything i could read. i've written about zora. and people who come to my house, when it's place in space date is in the trent green room. so trent are you such a part of my life. so was i answering the question? [laughter] >> and he did it early.
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>> and i wrote a television show and not know so many people who wrote about zora, professors and such a connection she has had so many people next to alice's discovery. for so many people in literature no zora and she is a seminole. she is like the bible to us. she's root lady. bring her to the world -- >> sonia sanchez, you have taught -- [laughter] sonia, you have taught this book, "their eyes were watching god" all over the country for
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the last few decades, beginning in the 1960s and 70s with the emergence of the black studies program. where did your journey began with this book? >> we have to well i think sitting on the stage have to pay homage to sister alice, who did something for another black woman writer that we all need to understand they must always do with their women writers on this earth. that is if they have been lost, we rediscover them and put up tombstones family celebrate them. and we all stopped in our tracks and send out love to sister alice. so we should really -- [applause] i got out of hunter college, went to hunter college because i was part of a generation we
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could not afford to pay in these private schools. i was good in the city, the cdu had to pay four bucks a hunter college you got books free. and so, i graduated january 55 and my dad said you should go out and get a job before you start teaching in september because he said you are going to teach because you come from a line of teachers. i said okay, dad teared he said he won't get a job writing because it wanted to write. so i got the times every sunday and those of you who is looking for a job sometimes know how they say respond to "the new york times," xp, debbie 12456, whatever. and send your cv and a sample of your writing and i did that. what a week later i got a telegram. for the young people you say what is a telegram? [laughter] there was once upon a time a telegram when they bring their
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doorbell in handy to this yellow thing. i opened it and it says report to work on monday. well i got in my father's safe inside c., c., c., i can get a job writing someplace because they want us to write for the firm. my father looked at me and said because they came from the south. so southern black man, although he lived all these years in new york city. he said you're still going to be teaching in september. i put on my blue suit, my blue shoes. admit loopback, white clouds and white hat. and they said show up at 9:00 and i got there at 8:30 because i figure it couldn't do ct time for this job. so i got there at 8:30 and in-kind the receptionist and she looks at me and opens the door and i took at the telegram and i said here. have you ever had someone look at something and then look at
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you, cassatt damon in the could you? she did it three times. i'm smiling all the time. she says come in, sit down. she goes out and i must've been another entrance because she goes out and she's gone for 10 minutes from a suspect down, takes a thing of her typewriter begins to work. amanda had came around the disk am i rate i smiled through a fast and another had came around like that. for 10 minutes tonight i came back and said the job is been taken. i said coming from new new york i sergius 90 your camera. i said i know i got here too early. i'm going to go outside and come back at 9:00 because the telegram said reports work at night and so i know i'm early. i'll go back outside and then come back in and everything will be okay. i never laughed, smiled, whatever. but again he did the same name. look at the telegram, looked at me. the whole thing was like how the
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world did this have been? he said the job is taken. so he turned his back and walked away down the hall. i said i know it's discrimination. a good rapport you you to the urban league. he turned around and looked at me and just read. i took my hat off, gloves off and got on the subway. those of you from new york no fewer downtown and went to santa website, you got to stay and make sure you take the number one train. but i was so mad i got to 96 senate still sitting in the door closes and another number two and number three and on the sudden he starts doing that shaking thing and you know you're going to the east side. so i get off at 135th street. across lenox avenue and basic i/o side about a quarter into the black smoking a cigarette and says schomburg. i said to them, what's the schomburg? is this lady, if you want to know coincided signing. so the old schomburg at the
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bookies sign and almost right outside the door. i walked inside into the old schomburg and there's this long table in all these men with their heads down writing and there was the class compartment air. mrs. jane has been. i knocked on the glass door and she opened it and said yes, dear? gentlewomen. i said, what is the schomburg? she said my dear, this library has books only by and about black people. and i with my smart 20 euros i said there must not be any books in here. every semester she would look at me with that very same smile and i said i've been adjusting story to tell about your professor and she told that story. you know how students that we've got something on you, proud. and i would disappear. preset time, sit down.
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i'm going to bring you some book. she eased me in, like who is this woman? because it's all mail sitting here. it took us 30 minutes and she came back with three books. on the bottom from slavery, middlebrooks for black folks and on top "their eyes were watching god." i have no idea why she put that on top, but i do have an idea we should put that on top. i opened it up and started reading it this a smooth sailing. then i got to the back english. i backed up and said i kept going through whatever i brought back into my southerners for that, by the way and continued on. i got up, eased out, knocked on the glass door. they said was your name again? she said ms. hudson. is that how could i be considered an educated woman, right? i have not read this book. she said i know my dear, i'm
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going to feature all kinds of books. just go sit down. i used back in and read some more. by the time i was into the third book i eased up and i was crying and i'm not on the door and she gave me a tissue and she said to the world is this young woman who is kind to this library, rate? she said go sit down, and here. i'm going to really help you. i sat down this time is that ms. hudson, either you tell this woman she sit still or she has to leave. i sat still and said of looking for work i came every day to that schomburg and this has been set made her look after book after book and then she says i'm not going to send you to mr. michel and mr. richard moore because you see, this is that people who are involved in the community will do. it will finally look at you and see something in your eyes and say okay, i'm going to help you
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continue this. i went to the bookstore and it to paper box full of books. i did take a cab home because i couldn't afford it. i took the book then we started like studies the ninth of books already. then i came back the next day to mr. richard moore who was a leftist. richard moore was an amazing hand. yet his story so narrow -- i used to say you've always been in sideways to get in. but what about he said he was up on one of those getting some books and was they who are you? he said you're the one ms. hudson sent me and i said yes. he said this litany of west indian writers. i haven't read them. he says and you call yourself educated? and he came down off this big roller and then he brought in books for me, too.
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i came back to mr. morris bookstore because the arafat told the students from columbia and city college and they talked about great thing demand the quiet one. i sat there in the little place and listen to this man talk. that was my first introduction, not only to zora neale hurston, but two other great writers. and years later he asked her, you know, i asked her, what did you see in my eyes? do with sending out out to these bookstores? she said i knew you would continue this. i was on the brothers tv shows some years ago and she was still alive and he asked me, who were some of your life is quite so i
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named all the people i traveled with in terms of the writers coming out, at least people, veronica, malcolm, whoever and then i stopped mid-track and i said above that i have never, ever mentioned out loud. i said ms. jane hudson, sister hudson is the one who direct to me and kept me going. and she is the one i call in san francisco. am i talking too long? >> i'll cut you off when it's time. >> i'll ask you this, sonia. this has been directed you to "their eyes were watching god." may you please share with us your favorite passage from that book and take us through the significance of that passage? >> that meant that i really wanted to read the whole book ceo.
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[laughter] and i realize -- look, this is a book i titled this series, so it's all falling apart, but since she had started that, i said. i should continue it because i wasn't sure what other people had. because that is like i remembered, but when i stumble after that beginning, seeing the woman made them remember that and the other store that from other times, so they chewed after that part of their minds and swallowed with relish. they make earnings statements with questions. it was cruelty, and it come alive, words by kenneth l., walking altogether like tiny and a song. what is she doing coming back here and on the overalls? can't she find a dress to put on? was the place that dress she left herein?
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her status monier has been left to indict? grisons women with their hair swinging behind her back like some young? body was going to marry. well, he left here. what is he done with all her money? she even got no hairs. why she don't stay in her class? i love back in the way don't stay in her class? and that question is still asked today. you know, it did not? she got to where they were, she turned her face and spoke, the scrambled and lesser-known sitting up in the air is full of hope. her speech was pleasant does not come of kept looking straight out to reggae. ports couldn't talk. the men noticed her firm like she grapefruits in their hip pockets. i tell you, the gray world of black hair swinging to her waist in unraveling the win like a
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plume, then trying to put holes in their shared, demand were saying with a mind with this last with the guys. the woman took the shirt and baggy overalls and and a good way for remembrance. it was a weapon against training syndicate turned out of no significant, so it was a hope that she might halt to their level some day. but nobody move, nobody spoke, nobody's been that two states until after peace plan behind her. [applause] >> did i mention i'm not a feet of the masters here? this novel has been called a love story, a feminist novel. are there other interpretations?
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hurston wrote their eyes in 1936 in only six weeks after doing anthropological research in haiti. when zora neale hurston's "their eyes were watching god" was first published in 1937, it did not receive the acclaim recognition data receives today. why critics were in some ways more accepting of the novel than black writers and intellectuals. one of the most prominent raids have the highest was seamless and meaningless. he thought that by betraying his people -- are people as quaint, that hurston has exploited and. explain to us this initial reception of the works. >> well, i think that, you know, as people of color we've been
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under siege that has forced us under distorted self conceptions. and we can't really see ourselves. so i think that we have been looking for, you know, ways to be and this incredible -- incredibly toxic culture so that we can be healthy and safe eyes and so and so we have often gone to thing like, you know, not so well adjusted marxism, which is richard wright's problem among some others. and we tried. and you know, i love richard wright. one of the great things about living your people is that you just love them and a half, you know, god knows we all have so many shortcomings, but we've given a really good struggle here. we have done as well and this mass of the civilization as anybody could possibly do and we should remind ourselves of that
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on a daily basis. [applause] but where it is so painful is that our distortions, you know, the culture cars because ourselves sometimes for various reasons can lead us to inflict such pain on people who are just trying to express how they see us. and just trying to express how they feel and just trying to express their love. you cannot read the book without he drenched and laws. in the love of your people you see in other foibles, they're weird ways insane than haircut and baggy pants and people with weird names and on and on and on. act as. it's fast and there's so much
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beauty in being authentic whatever you are. so the beauty of this work was lost on these people because they were afraid. you know, they were afraid that if people saw essentially all this unstoppable joy -- i mean, you're down there being alleged. you're supposed to be really just always picketing some pain. and if you're not picketing, you can at least be sending out leaflets and fighting and all that. but to actually have joy in your life is a creep victory. and that is some pain that i feel she left to us, this ability to understand what true success is. true success is about being happy and it is about doing what you have to do to survive, but you have your good times. you have your music. you have your dances. and this is it. you know, this is what is of value to human life.
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so she shared this with us at great cost to herself. and i just so so grateful. and i wish the people who maligned her, i feel so sorry for them. you know, they just missed an opportunity to enlarge themselves, you know, to grow the self self acceptance, the irrepressible courage, the kind of wisdom, you know, just being happy with who you are. what a joy. >> i think we should say that is that of a man, and a woman. [applause] it was written to represent a tradition of storytelling, of telling history, whereas i'm sure they would refer to it as her stirring.
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cheney has been called a hairline. her quest for identity takes them on a journey during which she learns that love is, expediencies slake joya and silos and comes home to herself in peace. what is the significance of this female nerd in the american literary canon? this transport. >> micro, my friend here. i love trant three because i she brings us to ask this, she brings us to beginning. she defiance, and a sand, reasons that we haven't considered why we have to come to this kind chari. we have a job to do and we are
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still in the process of doing that job. that is to particularize the absolute stunning nature of the human character, the human experience, human beings because she made you feel, no matter what religion you come from and eventually i find out gas, zora was describing human beings than telling us something about ourselves. she was telling us that we are the god status. and she was aching@to become -- she was trying to point out the richness of the rule we are assuming being and living creatures on this earth.
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trent three made me believe in immortality. because of what the characters that she wrote about, the characters she passed on that level it does. we're still working with them. we're still dealing with them in our society and we have to offer the world because she felt so deeply into the core of these people that she worked with and not one dimensionally. and the whole group of people of the magazine that she did, she gave us -- she was the platform. she was the springboard, the jumping off point for us as human needs in this kind chari of this part of the world.
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she taught us a new value for the human being. and when i talk to people when i was doing the same for zora has my name and i researched all the people that put about train. couldn't believe it. the people who had written about this one then, that was another reason i friday which i was capable of remembering some of these names. they're white, black. i mean, she was a woman -- of his polling from the elements. you know, that is what she was doing. to answer your question? [applause]
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>> sonia, what in your opinion is the significance of the female dirt, james and the american literary canon? >> a question i would've given to me student. [laughter] you know, when i first started to teach this book, you know, they teach you that you do these things semantically, but she feel uncomfortable if he has it is more than just separate scenes and then you begin to look at this woman, this one then hussein gave me a minute to grow up before it you get married. give me a minute to experience, you know, a quick case. let the experience a little
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romance before you saddle me with a man so old he could be my grandfather, ray? give me a minute just to kiss the air. just stretch out into nothing. when you eat that, you think, yeah, that is what we did sometimes. we stretched out and kiss the air, didn't move, didn't do anything at all. we also understand that within any hussein have got to protect dear. i have got to make sure you have the protection because i ain't going to be here forever. it reminds us so much of african-americans at this called america because we've always determined that our children do in order to make them safe. so they say you can't be appellate because you can't make money. you've got to be a teacher or a doctor or dentist, but you cannot be an artist. so she was this one an artist from the very beginning when you listen to her talk at her
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thinking that this is a woman as hard as they look at some point. that is how you identify with her assist artists, this poet, writer because she is seen the earth as an artist. and i think maybe i'm just being a little biased, but i think when they do see the earth, you know, as an artist because we paint our bodies. you know, we paint our bellies quite often with ballets they come out black, green, purple, blue, all kinds of colors. we spill blood on this earth, right? and they spelled earth and enjoy it and this woman, so you knew from the very beginning that when she looked up and saw someone else, you knew she was going to leave. and she championed leaving. so get out of dodge, whatever, better. and on the other hand, this site teaches you you don't makeweight decisions about marriage like
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that. but sometimes you make quick decisions about life. and she recognized that some point that about making a quick decision about marriage was life, her life. and she goes on and that brief passage that she read when you're reading with your students, students fall down on the ground in the classroom quite often. you know what they mean? and you talk about why they stared at me talk about why they care for them and laugh at themselves, too. because at some point we have to laugh at ourselves. you go on and understand this man, this young man, the man she goes off for it and the fears that she has. she had all the normal fears that any women out there in the third one might think about, if she even thinks about having a
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man two years younger than she. at all services in no uncertain terms. but you know, i used to make -- i used to get one of the questions that this is a love story. i said this is a murder story and my students, but to me like i was insane. professor sanchez, every time she touches somebody they guys. every time she let somebody they guys. every time she went in that book from the first has been too thick second has been to the dirt has spent a guide. what does that mean as far as she is concerned? innings in no one's certain terms that she and the sense understands life and death comment as she knows that life in that i navigated it and came back in the section that ruby
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red says it beautifully, she comes back and says i can't talk to you because i haven't put that in its yeah. i can't talk to because i just survived, you know, a trial where people said finite okay, you're free. you can go home. i have to tell the story so i can understand it and quite often we do not tell her story so they never understand it and enjoy about being a writer with our dear sister sitting here as we tell stories in order to understand that life and death are really all about. we have told stories that understand what it's like to work on this earth. and this is a holy woman we talked about but she spina, dan. what we do a close reading, you know she is holy. but she has made us holy also. [applause] >> ms. alice walker, the 1990
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edition of this novel has sold more than 5 million copies and has become the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of african-american literature. cheney has been called a. her quest for identity takes them on a journey, during which she learns what love is, experiences life's joys and sorrows and comes home to herself in peace. what is it about this novel that connects the masses to this word? >> everybody wants to be free. you know, it is wonderful to be loved and it's even better to be loving. but without freedom, it is not
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the best. and so, i think that we connect with this story because that the end, we find the woman alone and happy to be by herself at peace with being by herself. she has had many adventures and gone on many journeys and there she is at the end, you know, combing out her hair sitting on her own porridge and she's autonomists. you know, she'll choose her community. she was choose her family. she will choose her lovers, you know? she is herself. she is history is probably3 know? she is herself. she is history is probably anyone could be on this planet. and especially at a place that you'd fill. and this is what is before all of us. would have liked to connect directly with life. we have to do it in freedom.
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you cannot connect directly with life for somebody telling you when to wash the dishes. you cannot do it. in fact, i remember someone, who this is a quiet little site, but i was so would love with on and we came back to our place and i was busy because well, i was busy. and this person in this case the man was annoyed that so he took the opportunity to remind me that actually our bathroom really could use a good cleaning. and i said, you know, i'll help you find a place in another place, not here because i could see that his programming was that he would be able to direct and that is to follow direction.
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i cannot follow direction, except my own direction. you know, my earth given, the design direction. i am not here to be told when the bathroom needs to be cleaned. ..
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such an amazing experience and it takes all that we have to really step up to it. one spring time i was walking in central park this morning looking at the tulips and the other trees that have the white flowers and i was just overwhelmed by where we are. we are in this amazing history of trying to inhabit a major mystery to you want somebody telling you clean the bathroom, what to wear, how old you look, any of that? you do not to read you are on a journey and it is yours. it is yours to make. i love horse songs because they always hit right on the head and the one i really love is home on
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a half while i run this race but not talking about a husband, you know, it's about hold my hand will why run this race because i do not want to run the race in vain and that is what we see happening to people they are running the race in zain because they are not connected to the actual source and this is part of what we love so much that she's talking about of a pear tree, she's talking about nature and she's doing that wonderful thing where you see that for so many of us nature is the place we are safe and that is one of the reasons we have to fight to keep nature with us because without it, we are lost. thank you. [applause]
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>> in a few moments we'll take two or three very brief questions, let me say that again, very brief from the audience, but before we do, would you shared with us on of your favorite passages in the novel and tell us why this passage resonates with few whacks >> i would be happy to do that. this is at the very end of the novel, and ginnie has had to kill, and i love, he is so important to all of us because we are all -- maybe not always but so many of us are programmed to go for the guy in the suit, and the one who is bringing home major began or whenever.
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[laughter] >> sometimes it takes a long tunnel to get it to. like a boy, i've been had. this night brings $100,000 in gear with every we haven't advanced in years, so it away with that. we want to have some fun. my feeling about this planet, well, the people who run the world and who are destroying it have no idea what the planet is for. it is a joy. everything -- if you haven't killed it, this plan that says every single minute this is a planet this joyful, and we should be, too. so anyway, she has had to kill tea cake because he was bitten
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by the mad dog, and then she was put on trial the same day which is a remarkable thing when you think about it. talk about speedy justice. we could use some of that in samford florida today to. [applause] and by the way, i don't know if you realize this but it's 10 miles from each lynnville and these are the same people that are down their income so that family. the black people in the courtroom really are mad at her and they want to do terrible things and there are some white women who are sympathetic.
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they leaned over to listen while she talked. she was in the courthouse fighting something and it wasn't death. was worse than that. it was flying -- lying when to speak 18. she could never shoot tea cake out of malice. she tried to see how things were so that tea cake couldn't come back to himself until he had gotten rid of that mad dog that was in him and couldn't get rid of mad dog and live he had to dhaka to get rid of the dog but she hadn't wanted to kill him to read a man was employed against when he must she made him see how everyone went to get rid of him, she just sat there and when
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she was through, she hushed. she had been for some time before the judge and the lawyer and the rest seem to know it. so then they find her not guilty of murder. so she was free and everybody up and smiled and shook her hand and a white woman cried and stood on her like protecting wall and of the negro's with their head on down shuffled out and away. the sun is almost out and ginnie had seen the sun rise and then she had shot tea cake and had been jailed and tried for her life and now she was freed. nothing to do with the little that was left of the day that to visit the friends who have realized the feelings and thank them, so the sun went down.
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she buried tea cake in palm beach. she knew he loved the lead but it was to load to lie with heavy rain. anyway, the cleaves and its waters had killed him. she wanted him out of the way of the storm, so she had a strong vault built in the cemetery at west palm beach. she had gone to orlando for money to put him away. tea cake was the son of the evening sun and nothing was too good. the undertaker day and some job, and tea cake slid to really on his white college among the roses she had bought. he looked almost ready to grant. janie bought him a brand new guitar and put it in his hands. he would be thinking of new songs to play for her when she got there his friends tried to
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hurt her that she knew it was because they loved tea cake and didn't understand so she said soft words to all the others threw him so that the of the funeral they can with shame and apology in their faces. they wanted her quick forgetfulness, so they filled up that she had hired and edit to the line when the band played and tea cake road like a sparrow to his tomb. expensive vales and robes for janie this time. she went in her overalls and she was too busy feeling grief to dress like grief. and then the last part. she had come back and gone to her house and gone upstairs.
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soon everything downstairs was shot and fastened. janie was up the stairs with her land. the light in her hand was like a spark washing her face and fire. hershel behind felch bolack down the stairs to read now in her room the place tasted fresh again. the wind through the open windows and a broom out all of the feeling of absence and nothingness. she closed in and sat down, coming just out of her hair thinking. the day of the gun and the bloody body and the courthouse came and commenced to seeing this on the inside out of every corner of the room out of each and every chair and commenced the same, singing and sobbing.
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then tea cake came prancing down her where she was and the song flow out of the window and later in the top of the pine trees. tea cake with the sun for all. of course he wasn't dead. he could never be dead until she finished feeling and thinking. his memory made pictures of love and light against the wall. here was peace. she pulled in her praise in half like a great fishnet from around the waist of the world and treat it over her shoulder so much of life. she called in her soul to come and see. [applause]
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>> well. we will take a few brief questions and i see brief questions from our audience. we have at the corners of the stage a microphone and you can approach. >> greetings everyone, good evening. i just had a brief question. you have given me so much inspiration throughout my 26 years, and the stories you told, the essence that you've experienced help me to be the woman that i am now. i would like to ask where do we get our stories, and
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inspirations from coming you draw from your own experience, but we have you. its 2012, so a black woman writer now with stories to be told, and where we find them? >> this is theologist in me says that you need to be social activists, and to be active you need to be aware. so everything that happens, whether it be an issue in san, what would it be an issue in sanford florida requires a response and the manchester community college, we do things like habitat for humanity because the quickest way out of poverty is homeownership coming into the poorest people are
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people of color who don't own homes. we do finance would like hoodie today next week to bring awareness to the racial inequality of the world. we do things like voter registration, because even now, those later in our government we have people able to have legal access to voting. the activist and what needs to be done and for the generation before you hear pay homage but even more importantly pay homage and respect to the generation behind you there is no break in the link and no from where they
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came when if. i have met the other three. about the planned that ellis made about samford, and thinking about the way in which both zora was disrespect among a lot of the writers for being a woman who would yield the lives of people as they were, and then i was thinking about it will give
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the man had some trouble fashioning of the women characters in their art before real you know. i've got other problems that that was one of the questions. let me stop and it's good people are held in the street but we have to keep on this question because it doesn't just dhaka with one case but it happens all the time.
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>> during the lifetime as we endured presently have to deal with a double jeopardy. so it is an issue of race and one thing to deal with everything so it's not a black thing so we don't want to get caught up in the dilemma of black and white because that leaves brown, yellow and red not in the discussion, so we knew that but we also need to consider the double jeopardy of issues of women, she was attempting to simultaneously deal with women's issues she left the issue of race to the men that there would be a two-pronged attack against the
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thwart thefts isms and she didn't think they were in their camp and the other isms she was doing wasn't important it wasn't the same issue, the same attack takes place. now we will turn it over. it was very hard for me to look a what happened to trayvon, because of course those of us from my generation have had to look at and feel this over and over again and to filthy and listen mass of it but i finally got myself together, and what i
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really feel there's a certain amount of hypocrisy in a country and the leadership of the country that can see things happen and how horrible it is without admitting that the same time it is the same thing we are chasing them as their running from the drones as they are running from wherever defense force is after them. we are chasing them around the globe and really abusing them and murdering them and our young people are not so young copy this behavior.
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this is where we've gotten to as a culture. it's our shame really that human life, the weaker person who ever is received as weaker has got to be fair game, whoever can be stigmatized the person that can pretend to have authority over that person, so i would like very much for us as we are linking these issues to link the murder of someone like trayvon to the murder of children in the rest of the world by our support by which i mean we pay for this, and all of these children are all our children. they might live somewhere else but that doesn't mean that they are not ours. we are adults.
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we are the parents of the planet. it's part of our responsibility to take care of the youth and make them feel like they are safe. and we have failed. unfortunately the more things change, the more they are the same. several hundred years ago parents of sleeve children predominantly parents of sleeve -- slave boys had to teach them how to live in the black could to save their lives that they don't make eye contact but they shall humble and diminished behavior from and here we come 2012, and as the mother of two young men we have to teach our young boys don't put your hand in your pocket, keep your hands
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at your sides and contact so you don't look shady that we still have to live within this transformation of a black code to save your life because he's been labeled as dangerous and nothing more than the presence that you have on this planet. that is shameful. [applause] >> time is our enemy. we have one more. okay. we will have one more. okay. alana in awe of all of you. i have the i need it. i want to make a quick comment. i wrote a book, not that i'm pushing it. and people kept telling me your
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book is not the book. i said it's self published. that's not a book. so, for years i walked around with some yes sanchez's but next to my book, and i said it's a book. every time people would say to me it was almost as if i were seeking permission leah we were always seeking permission to the glorious steinem is here. [applause] another of our masters, yes. >> i'm not going to cry but i
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just wanted to find out from you ladies i know god has given me permission. he said to keep going. and i was looking for permission and other people but i'm going to ask you what events in your life got you to stop seeking permission from others? >> i stopped being a helene -- a lady. [applause] actually i never was a lady. [laughter] and a little history to that in the south, you know, the white women were the ladies and other black women were women and i prefer to be a woman. i prefer to be a woman, not a lady and i believe any god
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doesn't necessarily have to be he. i know for many people that is just coming you know, deeply embedded, but i feel that unless you live liberate yourself from what you have inherited as truth and the religious and spiritual sense you can't connect with what is actually here. there's a reason why the programming has been so intense is to meet you obedient. do you want to be obedient to the kind of craziness the world is showing us? i don't think so. >> my father was probably the first in my life that told me do not let anyone else tell you how to be heavy or how to be good because that's power.
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do not give away that power to anyone else. i was a young girl when he told me that. i was like yeah, yeah, yeah. then i started reading and schooling and educating and i read from the works of gloria steinem, alice walker, sonia sanchez, and i learned you know what? we don't need permission. we don't need permission. others need permission from us. >> to add on to that, i talked about welfare as a story to get people to think, what ever, but also why teach the book as a
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movement towards peace. at the end she had discovered piece. the book you are carrying with you are the books that we responded to be and we have been in a place called america, we came out and exciting but you must never let people bring you to their level. sometimes i come off stage and someone will ask a question and i hear the negativity. and i would have said okay, whatever, right? but i would say excuse me, my brother or sister, could you please tell me how i have offended you?
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and if you do that then maybe you can correct it because you must always make that person come to where you are to read you must never go to where you are and one of the things we begin to truly understand is that from miniet on from joe on whatever they try to bring you to their level, but with tea cake you have that. this thing called peace that finally we get at some point it means we can turn of around and begin to talk about things that are peaceful on this earth and how we teach our were children peace, how we move them and teach them so it's not just about saying wearing a hoodie coming and we all wear the hoodie. no, no, no. in our homes we have to begin to teach peace at our homes, so
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that is necessary. and i always say in the poem of mine we need to teach peace in the congress and the police department. teach peace all over the earth. my sisters, if we don't do that this is so important for us to understand that i have seen and al asad has seen and our sisters have seen so many of these younger brothers being killed. and how do we respond? we always responded the same fashion there's a big uproar. we go and get justice sometimes and sometimes you don't get justice. we go back to our usual lives. i think i'm going to do this this weekend, me too, i've got nothing else going on. life is going on, the world is going on. palestine is going on. iraq is going on.
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men are coming home from war killing themselves is going on. so you know, to just rise up from this occasion means we must rise up for every occasion that has happened. we must rise up in this country where the supreme court justice will forget how the integration has happened. he said it won't but i looked up in a place called washington, d.c. it's begun this non-peaceful thing has begun. republicans would come out the next day and say we are going to make sure this man wouldn't succeed as the first black president. i said then you should resign because you are here for the american people. for week the people, not for yourselves, not for your sex cells. this is about america not what you believe in all the time and so what we really must do at
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some point is a child be black, white, green, purple, blue, red, in america, overseas, whatever, we must respond to it, and it's not always in the usual way that we must respond to it either by editorial, by going to the congress, buy giving to the police station and the community and sitting in and talking to them and so let me tell you about a black male child or white male child is all about, let me tell you about these shoulder and that we have who cannot walk the streets because you are carrying a gun. >> thank you. [applause] >> estimate of the title of the book, their eyes were watching
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god i thought about title a lot from the allies are on to god because you tend to gravitate to that on which you focus, and if your eyes are on god, why isn't focus returned? what is it to keeping the focus from returning? so will we end up talking about what's happening that's the stupidity of the antithesis that their eyes are watching god i wonder about that title and what she was trying to tell us because i really do believe that if their eyes are watching god and god is watching us there is an exchange between the forces
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that we desire progress, and the glimpse of the jolie. i am trying to find it in the book, too, but they were watching god and so i'm thinking when you're always are watching who got -- your eyes are watching god, when we are watching god and god we know is watching us, what's happening in terms of the exchange? and so, i would like us to end on that note. how do we make that count? their eyes are watching god. [applause]
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>> the end of this wonderful and stimulating and intellectual evening i would like to thank you for joining us at the green space as we honor the 75th anniversary of the novel their eyes are watching god. ladies and gentlemen, alice walker, sonia sanchez, ruby dee, and i am a life.
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this is 40 minutes. [applause]
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>> isms ladies and gentlemen for coming out. let me preface my talk about kurt vonnegut by reading you just the first page of the prologue to come and that will serve as a kind of springboard for what i have to say to you about his life and his work and relationships i have with him, our friendship. this is from the prologue our newsprint and scared to death and it starts like this. kurt vonnegut planned to give a teaching job at the university of iowa, his best shot as he zoomed across the midwest in early september, 1965 and his sons and volkswagen beetle his six-foot frame pressing against his head against of the roofline are it was as if failure were clattering behind him like a tin can tied to the bumper. the ashtray was stuffed with crushed pall mall cigarettes and the windshield with nicotine from the chain-smoking. he now of what to think about. in the cross-country drive between his home on cape cod and
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on the above city osceola to date her all the time he need it did she was bored by his marriage to his first love the former jane cox, who he had married barely five months after his release from a prisoner of war camp at the end of world war ii. this past summer he'd been trying to start an affair with a woman in new york 20 years his junior who in turn was reading for the right her to divorce his wife said they could marry. if this writer and residents job and respected dalia love writers workshop didn't suit him he was going to leave it and compensate himself for his trouble by coming out strong with sarah. on the other hand, he would remind her that he was just an old booze hound on the hunt for affection and she does just a girl and he was old enough to be her father. why start of look in the media like that in the middle of the man's life? it's because kurt vonnegut was and famous, wasn't popular until he was almost 50-years-old.
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the first part of his life the majority looking back kurt vonnegut was a free-lance writer writing fiction for popular magazines like collier's and the ladies home journal, the saturday evening post and just barely making it he had a large family had six children. they lived in a big ramshackle house on cape cod and a curt was living paycheck to paycheck to put food on the table he not only wrote stories but he tried teaching special-education for a semester that didn't go all out well. then he received an inheritance from his father and decided he should go into selling automobiles on the cape because he thought it was an ideal job for writer to put the new cars in the show room, people come and to consider in the back and write. kurt wasn't doing well in 1965 when he went to iowa for the writer's workshop to be the jumping ahead just a few years when he sort of sums into the
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view of a generation. it's 1969 and i am a college student to the university of illinois, draft eligible facing the war in vietnam and like so many of the young men my age, our fathers fought in world war ii so we were facing a dilemma. we're a family? what if we felt we couldn't? what would we do instead? en and then suddenly breaking like a storm is slaughterhouse and 69, and we embrace it because here we were feeling bewildered and disoriented not knowing what we would do and there's a private trying to be a good with soldier who doesn't know what's happening and more than that, suffering a strange phenomena he ricochets and
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looking back now we know it was a manifestation of post-traumatic stress disorder which is undiagnosed the time threat finally somebody will say something and he's back in the battle of the bulge, then he's back in his office and somewhere on a far-flung planet at the far end of the university's safe and someone loves him and time has no meaning and he's back again and this book with its long chronology, with its flashbacks and its schumer and moments of terror seem to capture what a lot of us were feeling. so when i finished mockingbird and i was looking around for another subject of geography, first wanted to know who haven't had a biography written about him or her and who had a big
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impact on people my age. well, kurt vonnegut came to mind right away and i was surprised he had in fact never had a biography written about him and it turned out it was a little bit mr. that nobody ever taken the time half a century of writing the 14 books in print and nobody had ever written a biography of him. so i wanted to find out who it was kurt vonnegut, the author of the books but suddenly became so popular because she was out of print as i say in the prologue, and by 1970 he had a body of work that had been resuscitated from the sort of literature like the other night, cat's cradle, he had just somebody that's rich paperback books at bus stations next to conan the barbarian and he's the next great literary
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thing. so who was kurt vonnegut behind these novels? was he the man we thought he was because if you can remember back in the 70's he comes across as a character with a chevron of a mustache upside down like peter or george harrison. was he in fact that man and in body some of the virtues that were in his novel about the humanity been kind to each other and then finally i wanted to try to figure out where, if anyplace to his novels be long in the canon of american literature? because the jury is still the help on that even though kurt vonnegut is a cultural and iconic figure there are still some people today who are not agreed upon his work as a post world war ii american author. one of the westies i was with him we were walking down the
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street together and as i have to be honest, my editor when i told him about doing it up with you said kurt vonnegut, isn't he kind of a called author and this was 2006 and he said i still get a lot of that. so he felt he never broke out of the ghetto that he didn't consign to in the 1950's and 60's. but the eggheads and the critics in new york never gave him his due so there were some things about his legacy that i wanted to explore and i wanted to find out whether he belonged in the pantheon of american writers. let me tell you how i approached him. it was 2006 and i had finished the mockingbird book and what i did as i wrote him a letter and i just told him he wanted to do a biography of him. it was as simple as that. i was surprised it hadn't been done yet and i could do a good one for him.
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instead of the reply to my letter, what i received was a form of reply but it wasn't a letter per say, it was 20 by 17 piece of paper like artists use torn out of a sketch pad and there was a big sketch that he'd done it himself to come and underneath it said this is a portrait of me on the author. i thought what kind of response is that? so i put on the mantelpiece and my wife looked at it for a few days and she was the one that pointed out that demurring is not a very strong word. it's not like absolutely not or don't do it or i will have blah, blah on you. it's demurring somebody might say at thanksgiving when you offer them a second piece of pie and they say no, i couldn't possibly okay, maybe. so i wrote back to him again and this is a sort of technique i
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picked up with reading an interview one time he said if you are going to get to know somebody and interview them especially, you have to reciprocate. you can't just ask them questions and take away things from them. what was the child like, how did your parents get along, what is the first memory that you can recall, things like that. you've got to throw down and show the other person about dubow as well so the second letter was a small biography. i told kurt that i wanted the chance to do it all over again and. you were public relations person for general electric. my father worked in public relations before the company. kurson, mark is about my age, you were a journalist for a while. so i found out of these commonalities between and then
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kind of immodestly i ended up the letter saying somebody could cobble together biography like trolling the internet and finding some facts and trivia and they could use a lot of secondary sources in the library and i know you've seen hundreds of interviews over the years to receive this information. but you know what, i'm a good writer and researcher and the person for the job. i flipped over and on the back was a little drawing looking up. the was the beginning of the relationship and from then on kurt and i got to know each other more and more where i considered him a friend through the point he was in his life was a rather lonely man but at 9:00
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at night would be a voice saying this is kurt vonnegut, how was my biography coming and he wanted to talk the fact i was writing a biography of him was an excuse to - and he liked to show about his boyhood and growing up in indianapolis in the 20s when there were 17 in the phone book, indianapolis phone book. he was part of as he put a german-american aristocracy. his family owned the largest store in town today for the working men of the factory he had encountered one in indianapolis, a cemetery in indianapolis with their relatives and his mother was from the same with aristocracy commission was an heiress she
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inherited a fortune from her father was the managing director of one of the largest breweries in the midwest to but one a gold medal in france a pinch of coffee is what made it a little bit different from that devotee else. his father was an architect and combine to give me an idea about who he was so to speak so i could see him easily and how his out line perceived i met him personally because the of to the phone calls periodically late at night i finally decided i wanted to go to new york and talk to him personally because it was nice to chat on the phone but i wanted to sit down with him and have my list of questions and
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work through all these things, so i went to new york and you have to picture this situation. i was staying down where he lived and it was raining and was december, 2006, and i thought i should stop and get some flowers, so i stopped and got out of the cab and went over to a flower vendor and picked up the u.k. and caught in the car can do have to picture the scene i'm getting out of the cab at the top going out and the door opens and out steps kurt vonnegut. somebody i read about for 35 years and here he is he has gone chinos and a sweat shirt stepping out of the door.
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and we look like we are going on our first date together to pick up my prom date and i come up the stairs and he invites me in and this is a clue to how pleased he was in the sense to have a different because he was an extrovert. some writers are in word turned. they spend a lot of time alone, a lot of time thinking and writing, but kurt really enjoyed people, so when i come into the full year he closes the door behind me, and then in this time-honored style of one boy in meeting another, he says want to see my room? [laughter] sure petraeus we go up to where he does all his writing and there's a big bid that he has come clean size bed for taking naps he has a low coffee table he only uses it for writing and he doesn't use the internet. he's in that regard to over 88
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st looking into things and he sat there and nodded and was pleased seeing that i was there to do nothing except find out about him we broke for lunch to go to one of his favorite places and that i found something about -- and i didn't expect. i found out he seemed to be a lonely man and the second thing i found out is he was a man with grievances. coming to some kind of accommodation for getting those that have done as harm and yet when i began to talk about kurt vonnegut across the table he is launched into a list of accusations against people who have done him harm as a child.
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that is his mother, his father never taught him to do anything but his brother who became a famous atmospheric scientist was in fact of the much loved child, the preferred child, and his brother had actually told him when he was small you were an accident, and he never forgot that. he we are decades later and still recalling it. he blamed his brother for going into a major that he didn't really enjoy. for all the world if i had closed my eyes and i was listening to a 19-year-old who was angry, just coming to realize life had not been ideal and here he was facing adulthood for the things that happened to him later worked on the book and i found that part of the reason for his appeal to younger people was that he was always on the
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verge of adulthood, she was never a fully realized mature adult when he was instead somebody that had a lot of unsolved or unresolved issues, and i think the voice that you hear in the novel when you open it up, the voice that appeals to young people is the voice of somebody they can relate to because he is still there in a lot of ways, he's still there emotionally. so, how does this happen? how does this come about? how does this older man still have these problems with the past? for one thing as i alluded to, he felt that he wasn't the favored child but that his older brother was. also he witnessed a great falling off in his family, and he felt bad for his father and mother but as a child there was nothing he could do about it. understand she was raised as an upper middle class child. his father was an architect.
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he never picked up a dirty sock from the floor. they had a yard man and cook as he told me mother didn't cook. then during the great depression, his father lost all his commission and because of provisions whose mothers legacy from her father, that the dried up and then they found themselves strapped for cash selling off china and silverware in an effort to stay afloat financially. and he felt his parents humiliation and free-floating embarrassment about this, but that's not unique to lucy ann va couple things haven't but he never understood why they happened and how she should adjust to them. when he was about to go to college he had done well in high school being a high school journalists that made him popular. he found his niche working for
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the high school newspaper. right when he was about to go to college, his older brother who was at mit studying physics intervened and said listened, talking to the parents, she can't go into english, he can't go into journalism. the liberal arts or ornamental. that is no way to earn a living. the we of the future this technology. that is where the new frontier is and that is where he should go as well. he was very bright and he did have an aptitude for science. i saw his high school report card. he had a high iq and a-plus in physics said he had the power to go into science but he didn't want to go into science areas when his parents forced him to go to cornell and declare himself a science major, he did everything he could to go against the traces. instead of working at the class is, he went to the college newspaper and wrote and became known as a mischief maker
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columnist. meanwhile his grades went south. when he realized he was going to be kicked out of cornell he dropped out and enlisted the army in 1944. parents were heartbroken. they couldn't believe that the boys that used to belong to country club through their family and used to dancing lessons on wednesday night and to have gone to an ivy league college was not a private in the army carrying his rifle and his mother left and his father said at least i hope they teach you to be neat. but he went off to the army and in 1944 he was about to shift overseas when he came home on mother's day to surprise his mother. he had a three day pass and he walked in the door all spit and polish. the young soldier doing his duty, and this resulted in one of the episodes of his life that he never to his satisfaction understood or could result.
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on mother's the morning he went in to wake up his mother and she had committed suicide with no notes or explanation. for the rest of his life he wondered what was she trying to say. what am i supposed to make from this bill clinton eloquence of killing yourself on mother's day while i'm home on leave? is it because i feel as a son or you can't bear to have me fight? what am i supposed to learn from this? and acid leader in his riding the sons of suicide always find something lacking in life, and there was that stain on his young adulthood. she is moved up to the front and is captured at the battle of the bulge and put on boxcars and taken to an internment camp with thousands of others who'd been captured at the bolshoi, and then through a fluke, he's told to line up one day for roll call
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and a german soldier comes down the line and says you, you, step up. so they stood up and it turns out there are going to be part of a 150 man work team that was going to be sent to dresden to work in the noncombatant type of duties and the geneva convention allowed the soldiers to do the noncombatant work. it sure beats standing around the camp in germany caging smoke. now he's got to go to a city and what a city it was three st one
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high-protein syrup for pregnant women. now and then you could steal a glob of fat hot honey they were making from the grade and it was so nourishing in orbit stomach. but then one night in february 1945 he was rousted out of stock. german captors took all men across the yard and 60 feet down into the basement area and the giant seller with their carcasses had these hanging on hooks and are so far down below there is naturally cold down there and they were using it as underground refrigerators. member told to sit down and wait and suddenly the ceiling began to shake and one bulb hanging
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from the ceiling spawn back and forth, sprinkled down on their heads and they were there for eight hours while curt said it sounded like giants were walking overhead. when they came up eight hours later, dress and was gone. this is in claim 35,000 people possibly, maybe more have been killed overnight. the forms are so intense that people are running on the streets were caught up in the vortex of the congregation and floated skyward. the zoo was blown apart in the animals escaped into the street. people done in their basements were hiding, thinking they were in salaries and places for they could get away from the bombing. instead, the air was out by the firestorm and they were instantly suffocated. so for the next couple of months, cursed occupation change from working in an olfactory for pregnant women to be an embodied minor. and he and the other 150 pows
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would go into the darkened cellars, some of which were flooded and retrieve floating bodies and body still raining where they had died up against the wall, threw them over the shoulders, carried into the streets and piled them into enormous heaps, where people from the concentration camps, who would work for situations like this doused the bodies with wine and set them afire. after month it became clear they could no longer bring up the bodies, so instead man and were called in as flamethrowers and they were shot down into the basement and the bodies down there were incinerated. if ever there was a vision of, if ever there was a glimpse into the apocalypse, that was it. encourage was just a kid from indianapolis, 21 q-quebec 22 years old when he saw this. i think it left him haunted.
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i had the impression when i was talking to train for that there is always something going on to his mind. something he was for her senior going over again and his children and nephew told me to picture him three like a haunted person. if a set of people to press the thick of the same episodes in their mind again and again, hoping for a different outcome, hoping they might do something differently. they talk to kurt santana seemed like he was only missing with one year and in fact his mind to think that some in the completely preoccupied and any other melancholy air about him. he knew he had a great book to read about. he had seen something really monumental can do something disastrous and thought he could write about it. maybe it could be his thin red line or from here to eternity with the young lion. but there is a problem with what he did not see addressed.
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kurt saw the first act in the third. he did not for the second act. he was missing a medal to his narrative. he came under attack and was hustled down into the basement room and he came back out and there is no dressing. it was as if he was the greek and not gotten off the ship's detroit and saw the towers of troy, tires and a lamb and then he fell asleep and when he woke up, choi had been sacked in the church in society of my fingers trying to report the ships for home because curt was liberated by the russian army not long after that. so he was missing a medal and it was not until he arrived at the iowa writers workshop and 65 that he finally broke through the structure of this novel, but he suddenly with us because of his interaction with other fiction writers that he could do something very different and exactly what he wanted to do. see tranter is kind of maroon.on
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cape cod with his failing as a freelance writer and it very little interaction with other writers and professionals. admin and a few other freelance writers like himself, but nobody who was really on the cusp of anything new in american fiction. when you go to the i/o writers workshop, he was now some alternate donald justice in vanceboro share the people making names for themselves and the writing of novels and what they told, you can do whatever you want. you don't have to abide either conventions of fiction. you can go in the direction you want. so kurt broke free of the chronological border he'd been trying to tell the story and instead told it as a private word who had no idea what was going on. a private who was just trying to serve. a private who was a victim of circumstance and away anyway been severely traumatized by what it happened to him. the book was ultimately funny
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and macabre at times grotesque, other times the fire. it's really a high wire act by an author who is taking a creative risk because kurt vonnegut powered his novels on ideas, not on kerry terror and he would take a possibility, a what if kind of thing and extrapolate it and stretch it and make a go as far as it possibly could. and they really think that "slaughterhouse-five" is this crowning achievement. but he became famous and since he had been denied the fame he won it for sale, so long he could not resist the pull of celebrity. in 1970 left his family, went to new york and join a telling new york or took up at the one in 20 years his junior could be found at the lanes are sardines with hobnobbing with all kinds of people that were part of the celebrity said. and he was loving it, but also feeling guilty about what he had done what he owed his family and
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his children. his children were very angry at them for this. i think that curse career file is kind of an art because he left his wife cheated behind and we began to explore personality and interaction it was really his in-house editor, critic, advocate. she'd majored with the phi beta kappa inching your literature and curt had an incomplete education and here was his wife who could really help him did. after he left, i think it is no coincidence this novel after 1970 became more and her autobiographical. you know, the fiction begins to dry up in the city talks more and more about itself until you get out the way to times in the 1990s when it's just a collection of reminiscences. so i think the vast book before "slaughterhouse-five" when he was under the gun to write fast
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and what he had a visceral instinct for and take a risk and after he became famous and lionized, actually cramped his style. i think the bell chair of celebrity and persona dropped over him and made him into an expectation on peoples cars. i mean, somebody that he couldn't do much with after that point because i care there, that persona, kurt vonnegut he could hardly walk away from it. i tell you about the last time i saw him. i came back in march 2007. we've been communicating a lot. he sent me letters and postcards and i've been sending out the quotes from his former student i could find and he seemed to be enjoying that. the minicamps seem in march he was obviously it is very rough winter. he has some congestive problems. trantwo is a chain smoker. hewitt won pall mall after another and here he was a man
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almost suggests he did on a couch in his hands back against the cushions and he was playing with a breath mint between his teeth, just looking up at the sofa. he just present a portrait of a man who was exhausted. kurt had begun saying in interviews a few years before he didn't expect to live this long, that he was tired. he said joe namath is no longer throwing them in the stands. i'm tired. i can't seem to write anymore. so i came to him in march. i interviewed him one day, interviewed in the next day in things were going well. and then as i was leaving the second day we had an appointment to meet the next day, i said to have absolutely nothing. i said kurt, do you believe in god? because in his novel it's never quite clear whether he dies. sometimes these angry with god and other times he's an atheist. on the other hand you admire the
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beatitudes. i said kurt coming to believe believe in god? he says well, i don't know, but who couldn't? analysis pronouncement. and i left. about an hour after i left he was taking his dog out for a walk in any kind of an odd. when i walk down the street in new york. here's a six-foot three men can agree tenuate, very tall with a tiny laptop so that looked like a mouse on a leash and he was walking down steps out of the brownstone and the woman as he was walking on the steps he tripped over the dog's leash, pitched forward and hit his head on the sidewalk and never regained consciousness. a month later he died. and you know, it's very interesting, but two ironies about that. and no one tries to bring in strange paradoxes and coincidence visit to day life, but i have to tell you this,
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that one of kurt vonnegut's gifts common suntanned of time warp in every seven years reappears on earth walking the dog. for about 35 minutes you can talk to him and he knows will happen in the future and then look at the pods and he begins to fade and disappears and is gone. any exits again leading his little talk. and that is sort of what kurt did. for more thematic came across hundreds of letters to kurt didn't know existed. he told me he didn't have letters and he had lost them in a fire in a city. and everything he had in his papers at indiana university. the letters i found the letters he had written to friends and friends kept them for years because there is long, chatty letters. i think kurt is to wire up his fingers at the typewriter everyday, falling to his
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authorial voice by typing to friends, writing a letter to friends. my wife and i found letters written on the same day, two single spaced pages about how things are going at home and how difficult this book was and how broke he was kind a common complaint. one of those letters in 1975 he says, i'm recurring premonition that i'm going to be killed by a dog. so it was an odd and two of life, but strangely appropriate for a postmodernist who inserted himself into the literature, who took chances with the narrative, who broke all the rules and curt exited his life, leading his little talk like one of his kerry errs. that's really all i have to say about what my relationship was like with him and how i got to know him and a synopsis of his writing. if you have any questions i'd be happy to answer in. [inaudible]
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>> well, consider this. when i saw him in 2006, bernard had been gone for a number of years and here he was complaining is really about him, but the influence bernard had had on his life that forced them into this and forced them into that. i said curt, did you ever tell them how angry you were? he said no. said a chance passed in life. he apparently never leveled with his brother even asked him,, with why did you interfere? why didn't she let him live my life the way i wanted to? >> after world war ii and throughout his life, did he ever go back to dresden? >> yes, he did go back to dresden. he received a guggenheim grant and he had an idea about how to structure the book, but what he really needed to do was to walk the streets and go back to the
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slaughterhouse and feel those feelings. will he gets to dresden and it's in east germany behind the iron curtain and it has been soviet ties. there's no such word, but here is the cement slab block buildings and as they say in the book without the overhang in electrical wires, it looks like the whole city ran an extension cord and a two cylinder cars racing down the street in soviet factories, this was not the tristani recalled. yet the trip was worth it in that dresden was nowhere physically anymore. it was all going to have to come out of here. he didn't have to show a strict fidelity to the past. they could all take place at here. so the trip was worth it in that regard are dresden has since undergone rehabilitation and i understand today's a beautiful city. and curt went there in the late
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60s it was in the throes of the soviet plans. other questions? >> i'm curious about the arts in your interest in it. what is it that attracts you? is there one vote for starters you down that path? >> okay, couple questions. when i was in college i came up with the random goal of reading 50 books every summer. i was working in steel mills and railroad car factories in the books for my brief vacation at lunchtime or at night so i began reading what appealed to me and i just found myself drawn to biographies because i wanted to know what was said in a persons life that led them to become disraeli, led them to become alexander hamilton? so i liked finding out the clues
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in their childhood or adolescence. beyond that, the reason i like to write biographies about writers at like to find out what they're doing, they're classed, decisions they made. and biography as a genre gives me an opportunity that i think know what the writing desk, which is funny deeply about someone else's life. i learned a lot about my own by extending some compassion for people's mistakes are trying to understand why they took the wrong turn or what they let this person is not that person. it makes me think about what my life has been like and how none of us come in the world that they blueprint on how to live a perfect existence and we'll make it up as they go. and vonnegut was very much right to life is made up of a series of accident and were all involved in this random exercise of trying to get along in life.
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other questions? [inaudible] >> no, he never expressed any connection between his brother and his mother's suicide. his theory was based, that my mother was the date due to wealth and she was addicted to saturdays. and when she could no longer have that covered her life is so diminished that she just couldn't go on. and even that rationale doesn't explain the timing of it. mother's day would be some expressly to visit her, what was she trying to say? so he felt sympathy for the woman. he described her as they sat in views from them at the end of her life that was taking barbiturates to controller moves. was she died with was an overdose of barbiturates, but he could never solve the emotional
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ritual, emotional ritual of why did she do that then? what did you want me to know? any other questions? well, thank you. you've been very attentive. i've enjoyed it.and editor of
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"catch-22", robert gottlieb. this is almost 90 minutes. >> it was love at first sight. the first time the syrians saw the chaplain company fell madly in love with them. just hearing this in the hospital to pete and his lover that fell just short of being john dennis. the.terser puzzled by the fact that it was a quite jaundice. if you became jaundice that could be treated. if it didn't become jaundice and runaway, they could discharge him, but this just be sure to jaundice all the time confuse them. each morning they came around, three brisk and serious men with deficient mouse and inefficient knives accompanied by risking
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serious or staircase, one of the word nurses who didn't like yossarian. they read the charred and put into bed and asked impatiently about the pain. they seemed irritated when he told them it was exactly the same. still no movement? the full colonel demanded. the doctors exchanged a look when he. give him another pill. nursed back at me to know to give you another pill and the form of lunch the next bed. none of the nurses like yossarian. the pain of his lover went away, but yossarian never said anything in never suspect it. they just suspected he had been moving a spouse for not telling anyone. yossarian have everything you wanted in the hospital. the food wasn't too bad and his meals were bodybag. there were extra rations of fresh meat entering the hot part of the afternoon, he and the others were served chilled fruit juice or chilled chocolate milk.
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apart from the doctors and nurses, no one disturbs him. for a little while the morning he had to censor letters, but was free to lay around idly with a clear conscience. he is comfortable in the house at all and it is easy to stay on because it was right temperature of 101. he was even more comfortable than dunbar, who had to keep falling down on his face in order to get his meals brought in a bag. after he made up his mind to spend the rest of the war in the hospital, yossarian wrote letters to everyone he knew saying that he was in the hospital, but never mentioning why. one day he had a better idea. to everyone he knew he wrote that he was going in a very dangerous mission. they asked for volunteers. it's very dangerous, but someone has to do it. i'll write you the instance i get back any of knotweed anyone's friends. all the officer patients and the work were forced to send their
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letters written by enlisted patients who were kept in resident and words of their own. as a monotonous job and yossarian was disappointed to learn that the lives of enlisted men were only slightly more interesting than the lives of officers. after the first day he had no curiosity at all. you break them and not becoming invented games. death to armada fighters he he declared one day out of every letter that passed his hands in every adverb in every adjective. the next day he made warrant articles. he reached a much higher plane of creativity the following day we packed everything in the letters but hey, and not. direct at a more dynamic tension he felt and in just about every case, left a message far more universal. soon he was prescribing parts of salutations and signatures and leaving the text untouched. one time he blacked out all the salutations dear mary from a
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letter at the bottom he wrote, i germ-free tragically, et cabman, chaplain u.s. army. et cabman was the group chaplain name. when he had exhausted all possibilities in the letters come he began attacking the names and addresses on the envelopes, glittering hall homes and streets, annihilating entire metropolises with terrorist flicks of the racist though he were god. "catch-22" bear the censoring officer's name, most letters he didn't read it all. on those who didn't read it all, he wrote his own name. unless he did read, your washington irving. when that grew monotonous he wrote irving washington. censoring the envelopes had serious repercussions, produced a ripple of anxiety and some military echelon aflutter cid back to the word dissipation.
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they all knew he was a cid man because he kept it quiet but assuming urbain or washington. because after his first day there, he would censor letters. he found entombed in a miss. it was a good word this time, one of the bastille and dunbar ever enjoyed. this time was the 24 hour fighter pilot captain with the spires called mustache who had been shot into the adriatic sea in midwinter and not even caught a cold. now the summer was upon them. the captain had not been shot down any city of the great. in the bat on yossarian strike still languorously on his belly was the start of a captain with in his lot and a mosquito bite on his house. across the aisle from yossarian was done our annex to dunbar was he a he a killer cats and with whom yossarian had stopped playing chess. the chapter and chapter was a good chess players always
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interesting. stop playing with them because the kids are so interesting they were foolish. then there was the educated texans in texas who as it takes him and saw patriotically that people of means, decent folk should be given more votes than drifters, wars, criminals, degenerate scum atheists and in decent folk, people without means. yossarian was at springing rhythms in the letters that they brought the texan named. was another quiet hot untroubled day. he pressed heavily on the roof, stationing sound. dunbar was lying motionless on his back against him with his eyes staring at the ceiling like a dog. he was working hard at increasing his lifespan. he did it by cultivating boredom. dunbar was working so hard at increasing his lifespan that yossarian thought he was dead. they put the texan in a bed in
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the middle of the board and it wasn't long before he donated his views. dunbar set up like a shot. that said he cried excitedly. there is something missing. all the time i knew there was something missing and now i know what it is. he banged his fist into his palm. no page treatise and he declared. you're right yossarian shouted that. you're right, you're right, you're right. a hot dog, the brooklyn dodgers, mom's apple pie. that's a difference fighting for. but he's fighting for the decent folk? is fighting for more votes for the decent folk? there's a patriotism. that's what it is. and nobody churches and be there. the officer upon yossarian fluffed turned on a site to go to sleep. the texan turned out to be good-natured, generous and likable. in three days no one could stand
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in. [laughter] he sent shudders at the of annoyance scampering up ticklish spines and everybody fled from him. everybody but the soldier in way too had no choice. the soldier in way of it missing case from head to toe in plaster and cause. yet useless legs and two useless arms. he had been smuggled into the work during the night and the men had no idea he was among them until you woke encompass two strangely exquisite from the hips. the two stranger and anchored a perpendicularly, all four limbs in the air by lead weights, suspended directly about him, but never moved. sony did advantages over the insights of both of those were zippered lips through which he was fed clear fluid from a clear jar. a silencing type is from the cement on his and was coupled to a slimmer growth occurred waifs from kidney center efficiently into the clear stoppage are on the floor.
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when the jar in the floor was full, the jar feeding is all about offense in the two were simply switch quickly so it could trip back into him. all they ever really saw at the soldier and when it was a frayed black his mouth. the soldier and white have been filed next to the texan in the texan sat sideways on his own that and talk to them throughout the morning, afternoon and evening a pleasant sympathetic draw. the texan never minded that he got no reply. temperatures were taken twice a day in the war. early each morning and late each afternoon as cramer entered with a jar full of thermometers and work your way up one side of the word into the affair, distributing a thermometer to each patient. she managed the soldier and white by inserting a thermometer in the hole over his been living a balanced on the lower rim. when she returned to demand the first day, she took his thermometer recorded his temperature and moved onto the
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next that and continue to run the war began. one afternoon when she completed her first circuit of the word came a second time to the soldier awakened she read his temperature and discovered he was dead. murder dunbar said quietly. the texan looked up at him with an uncertain grin. killer yossarian said. what are you talking about the texan asked nervously. you murdered and said dunbar. you killed him said he is staring. the texan shrank back. you fellas are crazy. i did mean attaching. you murdered and said dunbar. i heard you kill them so yossarian. you killed them because he was a nigger. you fellas are crazy. they don't even allow them in here. this got a special place for nigger. the communists are jan said he
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assyrian. and you know it. the warrant officer i'm yossarian's left was unimpressed by the entire incident. for an officer was unimpressed by everything and never spoke of how must it was to show irritation. the day before a yossarian that the chaplain, a stove exploded in the mess hall and set fire to one side of the kitchen, and intensity flash through the area. even in yossarian stewart, almost 300 feet away they could hear the whir of the blaze and the sharp cracks of flaming timber. smoke sped past the orange tinted windows in about 15 minutes the crash tracks from the airfield arrived to fight the fire. for a frantic half-hour was touch and go in on the fireman he can to get the upper hand. suddenly there was the monotonous old trout of commerce returning from a mission and firemen had to oppose this is
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the back to the field in case some of the planes crashed and caught fire. the planes landed safely. as soon as the last is down, firemen will truck surrendered based raced up the hill to resume the fire to the hospital. when i got there the place without. it had died of its own accord, expired completely without even an advert to be watered down. there's something for discipline and firemen to do but drink tepid coffee and hang around trying to screw the nurses. the chaplain arrived the day after the fire. yossarian was busy expert dating all the romance wears from the letters of the chaplain had done in a chair between the bad and asked him how he was feeling. it placed himself a bit to one side of the captains bars in a tab of the shirt collar for all the insignia yossarian could see. yossarian had no idea who he was and took it for granted that he was either another doctor or another not yet.
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pretty good he answered. i've got a slight pain in my liver and i haven't been the most regular fellows i guess, but all in all i must admit i feel pretty good. that's good for the chaplain. yes i yossarian. yes that is good. i meant to come around sooner the chaplain that. but i really haven't been well. that's too bad yossarian said. just a head cold the chaplain added quickly. i've got a fever of 101 yossarian added just as quickly. that's too bad for the chaplain. just yossarian decreed. yes that is too bad. the chaplain fidgeted. is there anything i can do for you? eos tester a while. yossarian side, the doctors are doing all this humanly possible i suppose. no, no, the chaplain colored
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family. i didn't mean anything like that. and that cigarettes are books or toys. no, no, yossarian said. thank you. i have everything i need i suppose. everything but good health. that's too bad. yes, yossarian said. yes that is too bad. the chaplain stirred again. he looked from side to side a few times and then gazed up at the ceiling and down at the floor. he drew a deep growth. lieutenant madeley sends his regards he said. yossarian was sorry to hear they had a mutual friend. it seemed there was a basis for their conversation after all. you know lieutenant madeley he asked regretfully? gas, i know him quite well. he's a bit loony, snd? chaplin's smile was embarrassed. i'm afraid i couldn't say. i don't think i know him that
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well. you could take my word for it yossarian said. he says to you as they come. the chaplain with the next silence had lead shattered it with an abrupt question. you are capped in yossarian, ru? steps you had a bad start. he can prevent family. please ask disney chapter in persisted. i may be created very grave error. are you casting a yossarian? yes, captain yossarian confessed. i am captain yossarian at the 256 quadrant. i didn't know there were any other cat 10 yossarian spirit is so far as i know i'm the only cap in yossarian as i know. but that's only as far as i know. i see the chaplain that unhappily. that's two to the fighting needs power yossarian point that if
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you think about writing a poem about her squadron. no mumbled the chaplain. i'm not thinking about writing a symbolic poem about her squadron. yossarian straighten sharply when he spied the tiny silver cross on the other side of the chaplain's collar. he was thoroughly astonished. never really talked to the before. your chaplain he explained ecstatically. i didn't know you were chaplain. well, yes the chaplain answered. did you know if the chaplain? while now, i did know your chaplain. yossarian stared at it with a fascinating grin. i've never really seen the chaplain the floor. the chaplain flashed again and gazed down at his hands. he was a slight man about 32 with 10 hair and round to sit in eyes. his face was narrow and rather pale. an innocent massive ancient temples lay in the basement of these she. yossarian wanted to help him.
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can i do anything enough to help you? yossarian shook his head, still grinning. now, i'm sorry. i have everything i need and i'm quite comfortable. in fact, i'm not even sack -- sick. [applause] >> that just proves that we never stopped loving to be read to. as i heard the story, joseph heller wrote catch 18 and he wanted to get this published us catch 18, but they came out with mila 18 and don't tell me if there's anything wrong in the time of the story because it's
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too good so far. so mila 18 comes out, the power that be at simon & schuster decide we cannot have two novels, at the same time what the number 18 written by two jewish writers. cannot be. so they called to naysay, have to change the number. and he doesn't want to change the number. they say 14. catch 14. he says 14 isn't funny. and so, the bickering commands and went on and in the end, as it turned out, 22 is a very funny none her. so it ended at 22 and i think it's very funny. don't you? [applause] so i'm going to start with
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robert gottlieb on our panel, the less we know edited "catch-22". as the story goes on that front, it was a real collaboration, that as the story when it goes, you've got to pages in various version and spent quite a long time but joseph heller, taking these pages and putting them together is a puzzle. is that true? what was the project of putting the book together like the collaboration bikes i have three questions for you. so what was that collaboration like? what was he like as a writer to work with? was a difficult? did he give you a hard time? as the pages came into you in a serial way, what did you think this book was about as it emerged? >> three parts. in that order? >> any order you choose. >> first of all, he was an extraordinary writer to work
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with. you know, some vendors are anxious, some rebellious, overanxious, eager. although it's not easy to be with an editor. but he was like no one i ever worked with a network with hundreds of writers. he saw his own work completely objectively. he was disinterested. it was somebody else's work we were working on. so we would have a chapter in front of sna website, i don't think this is working. this paragraph is over too long. he said yeah, but if we do this? i would say okay. and he was a great, we'll put this word pair. i always describe two surgeons working on the same page together. they were syncopation attack your doctor and patient. there is a problem he recognized that i recognized and whoever came up with the best solution was always like that with him.
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he was completely -- it's not even easy. he understood the problems because he had the mind of an editor. more than any other writer i've ever worked with. it was like two editors working on the same theme. it was never in the many books i worked with that of his at-bat moment. so that's that. >> that has to be incredibly unusual for a writer. >> it was unusual. >> emea been more sensitive than i do, but he certainly wasn't going to show it because that would get us anywhere. he just wanted it as good as it could be. >> celesta pages were coming in, what did she think the book was really about? >> well, i didn't ask myself that because it was about what it was. the point was that it was wonderful and funny and i never saw it as a particularly funny but. i said it's a sad and angry and upset both.
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but of course it was hilarious, too. the stories about how we worked to set deemed the scene with nine different versions. i i don't know where that came from. it became for michael corday and his memoirs. i think he invented that. he was the younger editor, very close friend. he was a wonderful writer, but there is a great two exaggeration. after the book came out and i happen to review it, you can't make me the next day and said how could i've said those things? i say because you didn't check anything. you just had a great story to tell. >> as human history, we're going to pick the best version. >> s. what we look for his publishers. but as a process, very calm process. i do remember nine different versions. joe prepared for writing on cars
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india thousands and thousands of them and they stacked up and he would move them around. but here he had to structure the book in his head and no one talks about hope brilliant as structured, how cyclic and how things come in a little and a little more. the main example that i guess is the death of snowden, which is referred to constantly and you get closer and closer to it at the very end of the book, there is so horrible, horrible story. he knew just what he was doing. and on top of that he knew how good it was. >> also in the new version, you see this incredible revision that revision and revisions. there is a full page of reprinted at his handwriting and a cross out everything but three of his words. >> he was a good self censor, betty liked editing.
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he liked editing himself had been edited. delicious is totally happy experience. i hadn't read a book in the 50 years since i sent it to press that got something going to do this thing had better take a look and see if i still like it. and i'm happy to report i love it. although somewhat differently from before, my problem now is although i don't do this with ordinary books they read, i can't wanted to edited. and i was thinking, how did i let this go by? bit too late. the book is out there. he's gone. but i'm very proud of it and most important for me, to assault the success finally that he hope for and he never doubted its genius. >> wow, i love that. that is a wonderful introduction and we will delve into the book a little bit after we do around.
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let's go to chris buckley next, who is a very close friend of joe heller later in life. and as i understand it, the two of you exchanged hundreds of letters on top of having many meetings in person. so tell us about joseph heller, the guy's guy, the man. i'd love to know if he was funny in person. >> well, we didn't go to curly clubs together or anything. valerie heller, his widow is in the audience, but i didn't just say that for her benefit. we are coming together was odd. for this reason i reviewed for "the new yorker" the sql to "catch-22", a book called "closing time," which was sort of a mad jumble of a novel and
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its yossarian and milo binder binder 40 years later. and i could not resist in the opening sentence quoting the old line that sql is not necessarily equals. and i will be respectful because i'm a great admirer of "catch-22", but it was by no means all that admiring. i was very surprised and a week later i handwritten letter arrived and i looked at the upper left hand corner and there's a named joe heller and i thought my god. i actually delayed opening up for a few hours. and it was one of the sweetest letters i've ever had.
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he said i think you understand my book better than i did and my wife was in tears when she read the last paragraph, so how could i not write that. and i dated very shortly -- remember fax machines? this was in a day of facts. i'm very glad the correspondence didn't take place in the age of e-mail, you know, as these providers. we would type them in print and fax them. the private time he he died four years later, i went to the file and there were three or 400 letters they are and he was -- you know, this is not a particularly easy time of his life as some of you probably know in the early 80s i think he was stricken with something
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called defra syndrome, which none of us want to get. there's actually an amusing exchange of literature somewhere, where friend of his named george mindel called mary apuzzo, a great friend calls and says that he heard about joe? marriott possesses no. and they say well he's got a key under a period and puzo goes, well that's great. and mindel says no, it's a disease. because of that's terrible. he says he know if they named it after two people, it's got to be really terrible. she was a very timely guy, certainly in my dealings with him, but he also had a steel
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trap mind, a switchblade like intelligence and what i mean when hemingway called a first-class bull should detect here. so he was this combination of the warm and fuzzy with the inner steel, but for me he was very easy to love. we had a mutual despairing society and at one point i got is very mixed review for one of my books from publishers weekly. so i faxed it to end any cross out all the next staffing faxed it back to me about it the bottom, now it's a total raised. [laughter] >> that is totally sweet. okay mike nichols, the movie.
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we all want to know, did he come to you and say what she chiquita movie? how did the movie come about? >> with nothing to do with each other at that point. movies are made and decided by people in california that none of us know. in this case, those we don't know were infiltrated by a very close friend of mine whom i've known in new york when my partner and i were comedians and who migrated to california roughly around -- [laughter] you're fired. they guide you any ideas. >> i'm sorry. >> i've forgotten everything i was saying. >> joe heller. >> what's that about?
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>> so tell us how the movie got made. >> so he was working for the unfortunate person in california and they were making good movies. but he was then hollywood and he came inside for me it was right after my second movie was after the graduate. he said if i bought "catch-22" for you, would you make it? i said i don't think so. it's too hard. i don't know how to make a huge serial estate movie this is war is madness. think of the weapons, the planes. i want to do that. and he kept coming at me and i lost the book of course and we kept going on it and then it can very work written the screenplay for the graduate from the book and i started talking about
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catch-22. and there's something we did in the graduate that took us forever, but we were rather satisfied with it, which was sort of going from place to place as though it were on one moment. it's out of the pool, opens the door and he's in the hotel and mrs. robinson is waiting for him and they start to make love the 90s watching television and she's brushing her hair. she leaves them as the same place we seen and he's now in his bedroom and so forth. and we thought that really told the story of an obsession very well and it was kind of suicide. in bucklin often said that we try something. he played a little bit and he founded of course as is your same, the catch is circular. "catch-22" is circular with a spiral in the middle. and we started to play with exactly that spyro, going around
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and around and around and always circle back to snowden until it began to seem like a movie you could read in your head. and then somehow, more than any movie i have ever done, this sort of decided -- i never decided to do it, but it went a little further than we tested out who would play at him and tony perkins is a friend and was such an ideal patman them little by little, we were making it. and i was never happier comfortable. i was always worried. i never thought it would work. and many don't think it did work. the very mixed, strange movie. as the years go by, i like it more. i like the scary parts more than the funny parts because also the
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thing we talked about which is the good old daughter of an, right on his feet, and contemporaries just when we were hauling this thing around and it made us look like what we were, like the thing. there were these harder part, but as i was listening to it in the back to see it, there was a moment where they did some movies of mine and anyway, but can i decided that was the one we would go to see together and we had a wonderful time. i said it's not that. i like it. and also, as much as the poor thing could be come as close to the book as a movie can be come a which is not all that close, but we did our best. but i think it's okay. i think that show aspect of it is really better.
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>> you know what, can you talk about and then burn it to bob this space, the borderline between the humor and the horror of that shootout with extremely well and the movie and then talk about how it's supposed to be funny and the grotesque and how you balance that and how you think joe did in the book because the book is a movie or oppose -- >> you mean to joe survive in movie? >> i mean how difficult it is for a direct to your or anyone conceiving a book like this to balance the humor with the violence committed difficulty. >> to me, there's many, many movies based on books and all too many based on books presumably do pretty well. the hardest thing is dealing with the book is real quality
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because that makes it have real qualities is the uniqueness of its voice, whereas if your basic level that's perfectly good or wonderful, you can extract its care drusen setting and you have the book. you can't do that with "catch-22" very easily. i'm currently thinking this latest book of jane eyre has everything except what charlotte brontë was about. so it is a story with close and movers. >> isn't there an industry saying that bad books make good movies and good books make bad movies? >> i think it is a not a true saying. i don't think that whatchamacallit -- last night i went back to rebecca. i don't think it's a bad book, but if it's a popular book as
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entertainment and god knows that made it great that he appeared well, as good of a movie as the booklet said. the mr. joseph conrad movies that certain directors needed to create movies movies that is great books that can be done. >> dickens' famously cinematic and everyone who writes about dickens says the same thing. but when you read dickens novel, you see it as a movie and many of the movies are wonderful, but likely expect patients. >> here is what i saw, just to slip sideways for a minute, took me 30 years to realize that it was a politesse, just like you took all of us a long time to realize that sub 10 and a search
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for novels i still hadn't realized that. >> i always have the same ending. during that ahead of garcia or the grail or the witches broomstick. finally i must add for making that task, viewing it in the wisemen dirty says the same thing. you always know it. >> there's no place like home. >> episode search for knowledge, the leaking out for what she wrote a note. and i think that there are myths that keep coming back that make fantastic movies. theater happens to be a good one because it comes in the red and the black. it is than the devil in the flesh. every time it comes back -- i think i'll forget that. too close to home.
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i'm not going to think about that. and when it comes around again, so is there compelling because it's very close to home. in some weird way, "catch-22" is related to all the horrifying books like -- what's it called? >> all is quiet on the western front, but all the great war novels, even from here to eternity, that they have a connection in the loss of plain reality and things are all turned upside down and forgetting why you repaired. least of all with the second world war which was good guys and bad guys or so we thought.
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but these some things lend themselves in some of them don't. i think "catch-22" is somewhere but the middle. >> never get into what the book was about. chris, you and i had a conversation about what she thought the book was really about. so it's to abound. you start it and three of you tell us what she thought it was about and if you change your mind since the new edition has come out. ..
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of the cold war but informed catch-22 succumbing out one and did it kind of caught in this way, and by the thai amihai mike nichols came out in 1970 vietnam was a lost cause, so the book was bracketed by these dates. if this is where you want as i
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reread it if the book is seeking in a way to make congress a virtue of i'm going to reduce a couple of sentences from this handsomely reissued book and absolutely sterling introduction but there's an appendix in the back with some fascinating excerpt about catch-22. this is one by philip, an english man the son of a great historian, and says if catch-22 has any continuous seam it lies in the thai year less efforts of the house. an american hero to evade combat duties and defends almost ought moral obligations of men to be
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physical towards and as pointed out they almost always involved others in their senseless and unfeeling cooperation with of the forces of war the man who has the courage of tariffs physical cowardice is the only kind of man who will eventually make war and possible by refusing to play any part in it at all. i think it's sort of possible to look at mel phill's famous character whose line was i prefer not to. >> do you think the book is really about cowardice, violence or total anti-war mac? >> just to comment on what was
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said, the real model is a distance and the elite which is the greatest book ever written except for catch-22 -- [laughter] is this story. the story of a meaningless war for no reason and the survivor is as he is always and he gets away. but what do i think it's about? i haven't the faintest. >> tell us what you think it's about to be disconnected on one subject and as i said before i think it's on the same subject as his next book something happened which is set in an office in the family as opposed to a war plant that subject i think is what dominated the anxiety. he was scared, and something was
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going to happen, in the one book the metaphor and the other book the metaphor is the normal man's working life, but the tall and they are about is the same. he knows something terrible is going to happen, and catch-22 is trying to make sure it doesn't happen, and something happened is about knowing it's going to happen and then it happens but that is the subject as far as i am concerned in the brilliant metaphors, and i think these were the internal pressures that have led to these books. >> do you think this is his best book? >> it's about something that happened which i love as much. that's something that's developed over the years.
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i can't forget something happened. i can't get over that, i can't even talk about. they have some things in common for instance he has to .5 children. one of the miss disturbed -- them is disturbed. when you said what's catch-22 about, when you think the word about kings and queens and peddling the only resource families had which is they're pretty girls and the novel about adultery because he could have a mother affair in a town and no one would know it. and then i think this is not official they became about and
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if anything is one of the many things of catch-22 it is the hatred of authority and the officers or the most heated people in the book, and distorted to work on most and they are all our pals sitting at different tables not invited to things. we hated them. they were officers, but i think when you think he did catch-22 and something happened he was the opposite of what he appeared to be. he was a complex, sophisticated, elegant man masquerading as an ordinary guy and they thought he found the manuscript of the
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soldier because they couldn't see the person who had written the book. but over time of course there was only the person that had written the book. estimate he was different things at different times. i first met him in the 1950's which was three years before the book was finished and published and he was not the guy you met. first of all, she was working as an admin come he was the guy in the gray suit just before the book came out his hair was short and he was correct. he wasn't overflowing and he was nervous. this was his first book. now i'm talking about with me and my colleagues he was dealing
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with them. it took a little while, and of course you can't be in a proper editorial relationship unless the two of you end up, but he was like the guy something happened. we know it was true he was in the air force but we don't really realize something happened, too said it was true to him and the change came when the catch was published and hailed by those that field and became more and more of a success he blossomed he took the symbol chollet of being a success. he just loved it and he wasn't embarrassed. i'm director of catch-22. [laughter] >> kurson anecdote i can't
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resist telling and it's from tracie dirty's very fun biography published about a month ago called just one catch. anything written about joe inevitably has to have the word catch, but the reach of this novel was truly universal even though we didn't hit "the new york times" best-seller list until mcnichols made it into a movie nine years later at which point it sold 1 million copies in six weeks and among his many admirers hot the british philosopher and the ultimate crime for peace dying better read than dead.
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you must come out and visit me. and joel rives and some knocks on the door and announces where upon they fly into a rage and began screaming at them saying go away, get out of here, bartleman, and in the car he is trembling and looking for the regular shift when bertram russell at this point his butler came running out and said no, no, no, it's okay we thought you were edward teller. [laughter] >> we are going to turn the question to the audience in one
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minute. we have a final question from me and that is when joe rode catch-22 i think this is correct he was writing one from the cuckoo's nest and carol was written on the road and were riding the cat's cradle. we are the silent generation, we didn't protest. something was bubbling. >> it had to do with the war. >> humanitarian award? >> it had to do with the experience of world war ii and the holocaust. how do you deal with all this stuff and cope with it in one jewish way the humor, not that they were all jewish but was in
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the air. joe was probably preeminent among them. do you think that his fear and anxiety and what you are describing before cannot of holocaust? >> i think they can out of him. estimate the jewish neurosis. >> we are not neurotic, we are just accurate. [applause] >> don't you want to see the audience? can we have some light so we can see how beautiful everybody is? we would like to invite you if he would like to raise your hand and shout out as loudly as you
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can. >> the ones behind you. >> i read the playboy interview with heller when it came out, and the interviewer said something about realizing the last name in germany was shithead and he said that's one of two things in the novel i kind of slipped in there. what's the other one? >> don't ask me, and i wouldn't buy that at face value, either. >> i bought it. >> don't believe everything you read. >> you want to step up to the mic? >> i was just wondering if you could tell some stories about working with alan on the set.
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>> he was an actor, but we had a very difficult schedule because we depended entirely, we had a genius director of photography and he decided they would shoot into the light that meant basically from two to 4:30 every day you could get ready week that a signature look at 2:30, or four. >> we thought it would be $11 million. that's what was expensive in those days. we were in mexico for what seemed like years, and no actor could go away because we didn't
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know when the weather would be just right, so some people stayed there for months waiting for their seen, and he always stayed there because he was in every and did nothing but bitch. [laughter] and he thought he was a terrible. i wrote him a letter and i said you know, you have no idea how good you are at this. let me send it to you. there's a new dvd. look at it. you're great. and he wrote me a very nice letter afterwards and said he couldn't quite see himself the way i do but he sees what i mean about the whole thing. >> how did you get that cash i don't think there was a terrific actor alive that wasn't in the
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movie at that point. >> they all wanted to be in it. everybody loved catch-22. we had done the graduate together and we were it for those 15 minutes, they were the 15 managed to become minutes in which we started. i remember a strange little guy who came to addition and was a little hard to hear him but i thought as he read one or two characters this is interesting we have a great actor here and when he was through i said well, actually you can have any part you want. it was held pacino. [laughter] and he said that's wonderful. let me get back to you but never got back. he could have been a star. [laughter] it's that little twist of faith.
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i asked him years later we did a lot together it seemed like and he said i was busy trying not to go crazy. he said i could never have done catch-22 which is what marlon brando said, but what it feels like when you were the king and first came to hollywood how do i know i spent all my time trying not to go crazy, and there it is. every one of the actors who became a friend, perkins was a dear friend and richard benjamin -- we stayed friends for the rest of our lives like being in camp together. >> prison camp >> i've been thinking about the kaleidoscopic structure. i've been thinking about the
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kaleidoscopic structure of the book and a cyclical and the turning and thinking about how it is a lot like the psyche of a person at war, and i was wondering after reading some of the back matter in the book about jim webb talking about how the book affected him and the soldiers were reading it in bunkers. i'm wondering if any of the soldiers reached out to heller to think and perhaps for capturing that kind of psychological experience. >> i'm going to interject one thing and then maybe you can answer this. do you know -- i'm not sure that it's required reading that it's on the reading list of the air force academy. >> chris, did they ever talk to you about that. >> no. may i gloss a little bit on jim webb and the marvelous
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introduction i remember the appreciation of joe heller certainly after he died and was written after jim webb the u.s. senator from virginia. there were the two most highly decorated marine platoon leaders in vietnam were jim webb and ollie north jim wrote a novel that is still fond of as one of the great war novels come a very different cup of tea status the right expression from catch-22 called field of fire, and jim royte this appreciation in "the wall street journal" and its
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quoted at some length in the introduction, and he recounts being in the ninth circle of hell coming he and his platoon has been taking terrible casualties. he said their insides were crawling with hookworms and bad water we had been drinking, and in the midst of this blood and misery and death he hears someone shouting in this foxhole and saying you've got to read this, you've got to read this, and it is a tattered copy of catch-22, and he had read the book of growing up as an air force brat on the base in nebraska but he said he devoured it, his men were passing it
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around and he said it didn't matter to me at all that i was reading a book that -- and these are his words, it was protesting the very war i was fighting. the book had been written in 1961 and we are now and probably 66, 67. but he said what mattered is that i had found a soul mate, someone who understood. and jim webb is a very tough customer. the book that can reach jim webb and bertram russell partly explains why it's sold 10 million copies since 1961, although mcnichols can take credit as we know for at least a million of those. you know, i just want to add one thing to the discussions.
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we all talk about it as if the enemy in the war but let's also remember this is an anticapitalist book, and a lot of the satire this is not about war, this is about the question. [applause] >> can i tell little anecdote about joe heller? >> right into the microphone. >> linus dr. richard and i had the honor to take care of. richard said it's seen by most and is already experienced by most patience. but first i want to make one comment. i think the remark about -- i
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met joe heller one day, and having met him i commented i read his book and so forth and he said could you help me, you are a doctor command by the i never realized he to doctors because his father died of a screw the operation by doctor and nobody knew that. his father drove a bakery truck or something like that in coney island, and he said my wife has a skin lesion on her breast. can you tell me what it is and help me. so for people got up and held up a beach towels making some sort of a kind of alcove where i was able to lower the dating scene and examine her left breast which had ringworm and i prescribed the appropriate treatment and then the next day he appeared on the beach with a copy of catch-22 because she
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asked before give me a copy of your book. and described in the bud the medical services rendered on such and such. [laughter] and i still have a copy of the books but the second thing is i'm responsible for him partly reading his second wife because she was tonners that took care of him during his desperate about where he was paralyzed in my brother's apartment one weekend morning not able to bend down and tied his shoes or to talk or swallow and my brother said you have the syndrome and he had never seen a case before and he called a neurologist who also agreed, and was a long story but i just thought i would tell you how i met joseph heller. [applause]
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>> were you friends with him when he was suffering? can you tell us about that? >> no, i wasn't. valerie could tell us. she was there. i was with him when he was suffering through life. [laughter] but, you know, what was extraordinary to me was here is a guy that was no stranger to tragedy. he just told us about how he lost his father. there was another death, perhaps a beloved selling. 60 combat missions in world war ii and salles lots of his friends get killed. >> he knew that things are going to happen and they did.
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>> he has a devastating illness and it wasn't clear that he would survive but he was basically in some kind of an iron lung for nearly a year and then he had a very anguished and some time of public divorce, so this was a guy that knew winston churchill's if you are going through hell, keep coming. joe kept going, it was surprising to me he wrote with a joyous personality he was. he loved life. he loved food and especially when you were paying for it. [laughter] he had an awful lot of july for a guy that had seen all this stuff. >> should we go to the next question? >> this is probably a question for anyone who has an opinion,
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but i was wondering why do you think it was that there was such an almost famously long period of time after publishing catch-22 before something happened in the next book came out, and then after something happened came out it seemed like he was bringing up books with some frequency. >> there are many possible answers to that, and i don't know that i have any. first of all come in the beginning he was having too much fun being a the author of catch-22. he wasn't one of those people who was unhappy if he wasn't working. [laughter] r.e.m. won so i know what i'm talking about. and he was having a great time. but more seriously, this was very, very, very painful material for him both of the first two books, and i think it was very difficult.
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it took him many years to write catch-22 as we know where it was six or seven years in all and that was about the same, then as i said before, i think those helped him move beyond his anxiety and freed him to play a round, and among his later books, some are better than others, not unusual, but there was no book that took it out with him the way those did. >> don't forget he was working during the day. >> for catch-22. you know, he had to go on writing because he had to make money, and was the thing he did but i render him saying to me something happened again, that was a question of his books
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became what i called notional, she got the notion and felt he fulfilled it. these were not negotiable. they came right up and it was a struggle. >> can you talk for one second about how it came to him almost in a vision it's been written about many times? >> he wrote it one night. he was in bed dreaming and the first paragraph came to him coming in the by the next morning the entire book was mapped out in his head. >> it had been simmering, this material. stan eqecat took about things like that because we were too busy even making jokes about other people were saying this isn't any good or let's put it there. it was hands-on, it wasn't conceptual. estimate what's more fun?
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nothing. >> you spoke about jim webb's response reading the book while he was in combat. i read about six weeks before my 17th birthday into about three days of doors on the unlisted and i flew about 70 combat missions in vietnam as a crewman and i had the dark view of the war at the same time i was motivated to be in it and when i look back on that now i find myself really puzzling how it was the book motivated me to serve at the same time it made me so skeptical and nobody has talked about the under current. would you talk about the commerce there's also an undercurrent service and bravery and heroism that motivated some of us to do this and i'm wondering if anybody can unpack that. [applause]
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>> first of all, thank you for your service to the country. [applause] only joe could address the question that you have raised. let me ask you, did the people you serve with, did they know the book? was the same book that was making the rounds? it was certainly adopted if you will or kill offered by the anti-war movement back here. was it being a red? >> you know something dumb can i
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interrupt for one second? you said the things that have surprised me the most tonight. because i don't understand why that booklet motivate anybody to go into the service. [laughter] >> are there any psychiatrists here. i want to say one thing about percent and i said before it's called being a human come and if you want to understand it best, go back and read thea lee and. it's all there. everything is there. read those and you don't have to read anything else. as a matter of fact i you remember having this discussion, the eliot was his favorite book, and he rented by age ten. i had forgotten. >> let's remember she was a teacher and light.
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estimate this is a minor thing but let's talk about the be 25 and what it was to crawl from one end to the other which is what you had to do to get into your position. never, never mind the battle. we were bruised, battered come simply from chongging to get around these machines there were no round edges. we all had and they were shooting at them. you had to be a goddamn hero to fly in the be 25 and you have to be physically at the very top of your life. they were athletes and they were heroes 60 missions in one of those things. i barely made it from one end to the other. at the same time, you know, we have to do stuff like hanging
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out but we were in helicopters and we were comfortable. they were always injured when we did flying scenes. was a monstrous within and a monstrous thing to operate so they were like baseball players, they were athletes and they were heroes. >> one of the essays in the book in the new edition says a lot of people think the book is about schumer, but this person thought was about violence and about the feeling of soldiers in war being buried alive, and i thought you captured some of that in the movie. >> we spent a lot of time thinking about it and about the health of it. we actually blew it up that one night.
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we did it all on one night and was a big farm house and we blew it up and you have to be alert and we had dozens of cameras. we only did once, and the had it every night over and over command of course the bullets counted. i think the heroism which is sort of not mentioned very much, i think that they were heroes. he was a hero and he spoke as a disillusioned hero. i went to a writers' conference in key west in the war american literature and just about everyone on the panel was a combat veteran and rode a rumor of war and joe was on the panel and he was utterly dismissive of his own heroism.
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i can't remember his exact words but he almost discouraged what he did and you have robert stone and philip staring at him saying you flew 60 combat missions in world war ii, and he said you know, he's on the ground, left the battle of the bulge and such. i was stunned. in five years of lunches, drinks, dinners, i don't think that he brought up world war ii once but there was the generation that's one of the reasons they call it the great generation they didn't want to talk about it but he wrote a book about that. >> i will tell you what, we are going to run out of time cities will be the last three and we
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will go one, two, three petraeus connect at the end of the book when you saw them walking around and he has a realization what allows the earth, that it's not any more just as he says where there is treacherous and porter put the whole world, and horrible things can happen to someone anywhere. at the end of the book he escapes, but we don't know what happens to him after the escape. it just ends with he was off, and in the movie the ending is perplexing in that he's in this tiny lifeboat, the camera is panning out to the ocean, there's music playing is he going to make it or isn't he, and i wonder what you think the tone is of the end of the book and the end of the movie. [laughter]
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>> i see you in a tiny life raft. [laughter] >> me too. [laughter] >> i have no answer for that. i think the image speaks for itself and either suggest something or it doesn't. i can't attack or defend it. i do want to tell a true story of joe somebody was sitting near him any party and there was a total of talkative repeals was relatively outtalk and the guy next to him said still you've never written anything dead as catch-22. he said to house? [laughter] >> perfection. let's go here. >> my question is on that point. what do you think about the last novel and one of the things i
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thought was most poignant is the notion of a novelist struggling with the fact that his first novel may have been his best. >> i have to say i was in a mid no way an admirer of his novel and in fact i was in the editor or the publisher but he wanted me to read it and i didn't think he should publish it and he needed to which i took the understood but i thought it was very interior. >> you know, trollope once said, and i'm going to mean all this but one of the misfortunes that can have somebody especially if it happens early to estimate he knew. he was unbelievably shrewd. he had all bases covered and he
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knew that he was at the end of his talent and get he needed to publish the book for various reasons including financial, and there it was. it didn't have to be explicit because we knew each other very well, so i thought it was unfortunate but also his life from his career, it's not for us or me or anyone to come along and say don't do this. >> can you name three artists, writers from anybody who just got better and better? >> first they have to live a long time in the second, the have to be true genius. >> name them. >> william shakespeare. >> that's too easy. >> that's the point, the greatest continue to evolve, and those people have so much.
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there's so much the have to give the could do 40 more masterpieces of the only had the time. >> there was one in a generation >> that's the point, the greatest geniuses continue to evolve and other people have their thing to do and it's wonderful, and then they've done it and either fate steps and or of a slightly tero but as wonderful the returns joseph, his last books are terrible. that's the way it is. >> but we talked a little bit about how this unconscious creative less and scientists as well it percolates somewhere in the unconscious and sometimes it pops held on the forum and it can take years and years and meanwhile come if you are an established writer you feel the
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compulsion to write without that. >> because it's what to do. given life for breath, we keep going. that's what it's about. >> final question. >> so, the academic take this with everett says about war and katulis some that it's a parable about the loss of faith in god. does this have any basis in reality to your knowledge? >> i happen to have wrote down my favorite passage in the book which goes to that point.
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we will sum up this way and i think it's an answer to the question. good god, how much reverence can we have for a supreme being that finds it necessary to include such phenomena as flem and 2-cd decay in his system of creation. [laughter] >> i think that answers your question. what in the world was running through that evil mind of his when he robbed old people of the power to control? why in the world did he ever create if payment? do you remember when he wrote that? okay. i think this has been a spectacular night. how lucky have we done by the panelists? [applause]
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